Do I have too many Leeches?

Hello internet!

I reviewed the list of Wani-kani 3rd Party Scripts/Apps today just to see if there was anything that piqued my interest. I came across @hitechbunny’s “Dashboard Userscript: Leech, Apprentice, and Guru detail (aka SRS level progress)” and installed it.

What I found is that I have 386 leeches total. I’m level 30, so that means total I have 4673 items that I’m working on or burned. If we take out burned items, I’m currently working on learning 2924 things at the moment…

That scared me a bit because that means more than 10% of things I’m trying to learn are leeches. Anyone else using the app, can you tell me how many leeches you have vs. how many things you’re learning?



I don’t want to know how many leeches I have. Probably tons and hopefully they’ll stick eventually.

Edit: The site says I have 109.


I’m sure there’s a lot of people that have more leeches than you at your level, but reducing your leeches is never a bad thing, right? :slight_smile:

I would suggest you to use the Leech training script and start reviewing them there on a daily basis. Don’t focus on reducing the number of “leeches’ reviews available” to zero right away. Remember, these are hard items for you. Overdoing is always bad. Instead, focus on making a habit of reviewing some items with the script everyday. In 1 month, come here again and tell us how your total number of leeches reduced :slight_smile:


You know that’s great for your level… right? :thinking:

I’m questioning if it’s correct. I could just be missing something on the site. It says, “Showing 1 to 109 of 109 entries”, and I don’t see any way to show more.

The number on the website corresponds with the number that I have on my dashboard, so I guess it’s correct.

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It does seem a bit high.

According to the script, I have 185 leeches and a total of 5836 items - about 3%.
If I exclude burned items, I’m actively learning 2374 items - making the leeches about 8%.

The real question is, how many of your leeches are in Apprentice or Guru? The ones that are in Master or Enlightened you’ve hopefully figured out and at least some of them you should be able to burn without getting them wrong again.

@seanblue In apprentice/guru I have 256… so thats more than half of them. I’ve found for some kanji, making my own mnemonic helps a ton, but I’ve been doing that mostly for new kanji… I guess I’ll start going back and making them for older ones that evade my memory.

@Borx Thats amazing and I hate you.

@jprspereira I think I’ll set that up and start trying to de-parasite my Wanikani. This isn’t medieval times! No one needs that many leeches.


I’ve been trying to figure out how it figures them up, because I’ll get a couple wrong once and they’ll immediately go in there, and then the next time I get them right and they’re gone. I thought it would take more than once getting something wrong for it to become a leech but…

I’m still a pretty low level yet, though.

I think the creator hasn’t posted her most recent formula on the forums. It’s a matter of checking the script’s post. I think this only happens with recently learned items, as the number from “times you got it right/times you got it wrong” tends to be lower. However, I really don’t mind an item being considered a leech just by getting it wrong once in this situation. It’s just extra reinforcement. It’s better to review it some extra times through the script than having the risk of getting that item wrong a 2nd time and starting with a not so good relationship with it.


Yeah I just haven’t bothered to check it, it’s more just been an idle wonder. Makes sense though, it does tend to just be the most recent. It says I don’t have any at the moment, so I’ll go with that and hang on to it as long as I can for now. Goodness knows it won’t last.

The leech training script has helped a lot, though. A few weeks ago I had something like 12 and they’re gone now so…

I personally couldn’t give a crap about leeches.

There seems to be a lot of hysteria surrounding them. I have 167 leeches out of 2618 items so 167/2618*100 is about 6.4%. Even if you had 20% leeches you still have a nice big chunk of 80% that is sticking in your mind. I’m maybe being facetious here I have noticed an interesting pattern that my leeches always seem to be words I find uninteresting. To me, the leech hysteria is making a mountain of a molehill. If, while using wanikani, you are reading and listening to native content, using sentence flashcards and practising speaking then it should all just take care of itself as time goes on.

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The problem is that, the more leeches you get, the more content you have to manage. More likely than not, the more content you have to deal with, the harder it becomes to do well. As a result, the load snowballs out of control. The other problem would be if non-guru’d items become leeched, which would result in suspended ability to level up.

As I’ve never had over 10 leeches, the thought of having over 100 is absolutely terrifying. And to someone who was required to get straight As in school in order to not lose privileges, 80% on a vocabulary test would have been doomsday for me. :rofl:

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@idiomargot Is that 2618 number including burned items? If it does include burned items, how many do you have excluding burned?

@EiriMatsu Right, especially after I level up, the reviews the next day can get crazy. If I go a day without studying thats 200 or so reviews most times.

I do see what you mean but I still don’t worry about it. As long as I write down my wrong answers with the mnemonic during reviews I eventually deal with them. I also never seem to have too many reviews because I don’t do new lessons until my apprentice box is at 50 or below. I also know that wanikani is having the desired effect because I’m beginning to understand/get the gist of a lot of content that I see.

It’s commendable that you were conditioned to have such a high standard by your parents. But from another perspective of language learning I gained studying Spanish and Portuguese I think it’s important to discriminate in terms of how important a piece of information is and whether it’s a wise use of time focusing on it. I once showed a Japanese guest at my hostel my phone while I was doing reviews and he was laughing at a lot of the “pointless” words I was learning.

It’s total items. I’ve burned 59 items so far.

But you are taking time to write down wrong answers, which is more than I think some people have been doing, hence the concern about leeches. For those who are thinking about speed, writing takes excess time. In addition, the speed runners will usually do every lesson at once. I normally have between 80-110 apprentice items at all times. As soon as I guru them, I restock them almost entirely with new lessons.

As you’re operating not only on a comfortable pacing system for yourself but also taking the additional effort to ensure mistakes are fixed, you have likely properly made yourself a defense against leeches causing you overload.

I only mentioned the standards they had for my grades for the whole “glass half-full, glass half-empty” type argument. 20% can be huge or tiny depending on how you view it. To put it another way, I wouldn’t feel comfortable having a surgeon with an 80% success rate work on me. :stuck_out_tongue:

Ironically, I can’t think of a single word on WaniKani I haven’t actually seen used at least once! :rofl: The only two I used to have at my disposal were removed last year!

Haha too right about the surgeon! In that context definitely.

I still find the other viewpoint strange… Why wouldn’t everyone go at a pace comfortable for themselves? (stress affects how thoroughly new information is internalized, especially language acquisition) Or make sure mistakes are fixed?? The purpose of this thing is to actually learn the information, not pat yourself on the back because you blazed through it and hit level 60 in the theoretically possible time of 15 months or whatever it is… If you can do that while being comfortable then hats off, you’re super clever.

Wanikani is awesome but it does not equate with real-world Japanese language ability. The effort/mental energy spent worrying about leeches and trying to level up in 3 days or whatever could be better spent reading content you’re interested in, speaking practice, grammar study, listening comprehension exercises etc.

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In theory, WaniKani chose the SRS interval levels because assuming nothing gets in the way, performing the reviews immediately as they come up is the around the proper range of time to work with how your brain utilizes information. Of course, everyone learns at different speeds, and most people have lives that make absorbing Japanese constantly more difficult than in theory.

Take too long to review and you’ll forget things. Go too fast and you’ll mess up a lot and/or burn out. Finding that sweet spot takes knowing yourself well. A lot of people have reset their level quite a way back because they realized their pace (either too fast or too slow) was affecting their performance. The smartest thing I’ve seen many people do is focus on speed-running the radicals and kanji only while taking the vocabulary at whatever pace they need. That way you can access more content quickly yet not overwhelm yourself.

If you consider how many functions of modern society works, it makes sense that there’s an impulse to do something when you can. “Available Now” just strikes a weird cord that makes people think, “I have to do it now!” That’s especially seen in the numerous posts from level 1-3s who constantly remark that WaniKani is too slow (and hence why it’s a combination of a community joke and pet peeve).

Edit: @chromattic Also, to contribute to your post, I have 2,537 active items (3,695 including burned) with 5 leeches (4 legitimate, 1 typo). :slightly_smiling_face:

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